We realize Christmas isn't the only show in town, but it's the one most likely to be all up in your face. As a public service to both celebrators and the patient folks surrounded by them, we rounded up a few of our favorite seasonal LPs to ease the stress. Check 'em after the jump, and tune into "The Let Out" on East Village Radio (made possible by Dewar's) tonight from 6-8pm, where we FULLY go in with the holiday styles. And perhaps Holiday Styles! Listen live or grab the podcast afterwards. We'll stop blabbing now, go click "more."
Willie Nelson Pretty Paper (1979)
Go anywhere near the state of Texas during the month of December, and you will probably hear something from Pretty Paper. As far as we know, Texans think the Red-headed Stranger is actually Jesus, and really, we are not offended by that notion. He's definitely a solid dude. While Willie's loony grin and actual peelable paper on this album cover make us think he was rocking around trees of a kind other than "Christmas," the songs are vintage '70s cowpoke music and will dull the edge off the most hellacious of shopping sprees.
Various Artists Dr. Demento Presents: The Greatest Christmas Novelty CD of All Time (1989)
Where is Dr. Demento? He used to be on every radio station in every town 24 hours a day from Thanksgiving to New Year's, and now it's like, Rick Dees. Not a fair trade. Please write in with a detailed update of Dr. D because we honestly think he could bring peace on Earth. This album has singing dogs and grandmas getting run over by reindeers, which are both good looks, but seriously, Cheech & Chong AND Bob & Doug McKenzie on the same album is like getting zooted in the garage with our uncles.
Jacob Miller & Ray I Natty Christmas (1987)
We could make a third straight joke about smoking marijuana on Christmas, but we won't because that would be mad generalizing about Jamaican reggae singers. Instead, look at that album cover and tell me you wouldn't rather have Jacob Miller tumble down your chimney than some creepy old dude. Hold up, Santa Claus is from the Netherlands, man. They can both show up, then Santa yelling, "Ho, Ho, Ho"and Jacob going, "Ah, Ah, Ah," all shaking their bellies and shit.
Various Artists Just Say Noel (1996)
A keeper, if only for Beck's Hanukkahtastic "Little Drum Machine Boy." The Roots' cover of De La's "Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa" is solid too. But really, you want this to reminisce on the mid '90s in general and DGC Records in specific. Rivers Cuomo couldn't get a look on this though? You know he had it in him!
New Edition Christmas All Over The World (1985)
Ralph Tresvant should be much more famous, if for nothing else than singing "Give Love on Christmas Day." We're not positive Bobby Brown was even present for this recording, but Bell Biv Devoe hold it down on the backup vocals.
LaFace Cartel A LaFace Family Christmas (1993)
LaFace Cartel? We totally don't remember that era. Somehow, the visage of Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds doesn't conjure images of ruthless crime syndicates, but whatever. Family Christmas includes Outkast's "Players Ball" in all of its originally Christmas-y glory, so we shall forget to remember the faded misnomers. Listening to '93-era Usher and TLC, though, it really is astonishing that they became wildly successful. T-Boz doesn't sing so much as wheeze attitude on "Sleigh Ride," but we love them still. Plus, it's like, what other Christmas album are we going to listen to while we tape condoms on the tree?
Phil Spector A Christmas Gift For You from… (1963)
We can't imagine Christmases with Phil Spector are too much fun (guy is kinda Beetlejuicy, no?) but we'll cut him slack because this really is the best Christmas album ever recorded. It's so good, in fact, that someone is selling the vinyl on the internet for $200 even though we just saw it at the store, still in the wrapper, for $8.99. Good will towards men and stuff. The Ronettes and Crystals absolutely tear down half a dozen holiday classics, and Phil himself shows up on the intro to "Silent Night" to whisper some really nightmarish thank yous. No, thank you, Phil. Thanks for the fear.